Bob's Gutsy Leadership Blog

The Nokia Crisis – Guts Needed!

We have been talking vision and strategy in this blog. It is interesting to note that Nokia, the world’s largest cell phone maker, just announced a 21% drop in profits in the fourth quarter of 2010, primarily due to consumers moving to smartphones, abandoning their traditional cell phones.

In an internal memo published in this week’s The Wall Street Journal, Nokia Chief Executive Stephen Elop, said the company “poured gasoline” on its “own burning platform.”

“Nokia, our platform is burning,” Mr. Elop wrote in the memo, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. “It will be a huge effort to transform our company,” he adds.

Here is an example of a company badly needing to revise their vision to being the premier smartphone company that also offers cell phones via its separate cell phone division. That means they need to move from being primarily a hardware company to being a hardware, software and services company.

It’s the leader’s job to make that happen as fast and as effectively as possibly. They need a different kind of talent and they need to totally reorganize. All those things require real guts. I am sure there is tremendous push-back within the company given their past hardware success and an employee base that knows and prides itself in its big (but shrinking) cell phone business.

What’s the lesson? The courageous leader gets out in front of emerging trends, even if required to separately manage a going but aging business at the same time.

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